Looking for a way to collaborate on a Word document? If so, you can do it very easily in Word itself. This feature exists in several versions of Office and works even if the receiving end does not have Word installed on their system.
Please note that in order to start sharing documents in Word, you need to save the documents to the cloud. Not all of your documents, but at least the one you are going to share. This means you need to set up your OneDrive account first and then sign in to your Microsoft account from Word.
Share Word Doc
After you’ve properly set up OneDrive in Word, click the Share button in the upper right corner of your screen.
A panel will appear on the right side of the screen. If the document has not yet been saved to the cloud, you will need to click the Save to Cloud button.
The Save As dialog box will open and should already be set to OneDrive. Give the file a name and save it.
After saving and uploading to the cloud, return to the Share dialog and you should now be able to invite people to join. Enter an email address, choose whether they can edit it or just view it, and then add an optional message.
The receiving party will receive an email with a link to the document stored in the sending party’s OneDrive:
When the user clicks on the link, they are taken to a browser-based version of Word called Word Online, where the document can be edited.
Click the “Edit in Browser” button and you will see the familiar ribbon interface of the Word desktop program. The user can edit the document without installing Word or without a OneDrive account.
The document is saved automatically, so the user does not have to worry about trying to save the document themselves. At the end, you will see a pop-up message stating that other people are editing the document and asking if you want to automatically share changes as they appear. I recommend clicking “Yes” here.
Please note that you will not see changes from other users until you save the document. If you click File, a new message appears in the Info tab that says “Updates for this document are available.”
Save the document and you will receive another message indicating that new changes made by other users will be marked with a green overlay.
Click OK and view your document. Anything highlighted in green is something that has been changed or added by someone else. In my testing, if someone deleted something from the document, there was no green color.
Note that after you save the document, the green highlight will disappear until new changes are made. If you want to keep track of what changes are being made, you must enable “Track Document Changes” before you share it, otherwise it will be difficult to understand what is happening, especially if multiple people are editing the document.
Above, I turned on Track Changes in the Overview tab, and now, in addition to the green highlighted text, I also have red vertical bars in the left column. Since deletions are not shown in green, they can only be seen by tracking changes. Click on the red line and the deleted content will be strikethrough.
Overall, Word is a great real-time collaboration tool with multiple authors or editors and the sync aspect works very well. One thing I noticed is that when someone is editing a certain paragraph, it prevents others from editing that section until the first person is done. This ensures that people don’t overwrite the same partitions at the same time. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!